As you’ll quickly come to realize over the coming weeks, I get confused easily. Shoe laces, Muller corners, pedestrian crossings, stop signs – though I appear to be joined on this one by most of Boston’s drivers – have all left me questioning my sanity. And since being given this job I’ve been thoroughly perplexed by the header at the top of this page. Look at it for a minute. A & E. Arts and Entertainment. Now read it again, slower. Arts. AND. Entertainment. Does it mean that the Arts are separate from Entertainment? That Art isn’t supposed to be entertaining or maybe that it just isn’t entertaining. If any of you has seen the entries for the Turner Prize over the last few years you’d probably tell me that Art is just, well, Art. It’s different.
OK point taken, but it got me thinking about the content of this section. How can we blend something that ‘we wish we understood better but are just a bit too busy to enjoy’ with Entertainment. If any of you are expecting an answer in this column, I’m sorry but you’re going to be disappointed. I haven’t got one for you. What I can promise you is that while this section won’t change your perceptions of whether the Arts are entertaining or not, we will cater to a wide variety of tastes and, above all, focus on the fun. There’ll be no more skipping through the A&E section, or reading it when there’s nothing else left (those of you who do that, we know who you are.)
Maybe you think I’m doing this because, being a Brit, I miss being surrounded by ancient architecture, music, art galleries and history. If you thought that then, who am I to correct you, but sadly I’m not that sophisticated. I operate on a far lower level. I’m doing this because of a simple promise.
You see my parents drilled many things into me, but two above all stuck: The first was always iron your underwear because you never when you’re going to be laid out on the tarmac, the other, to “never look a gift horse in the mouth’. Now I still have no idea what that literally means. One, I’ve never seen a gift horse; is it like a Shetland pony? Or the tooth fairy that only turns up when you’re not looking? And what happens if I look it in the mouth? Will I turn to stone? Be cursed with a thousand years bad luck? I don’t know. (Answers on a postcard though if anyone is that bored). I am told that the more literal translation of this is never overlook free stuff and the beauty of this job is there is, apparently, lots of free stuff. In fact I am assured that there is more free stuff than either Jason or I could use. Free movie tickets, theatre tickets, art gallery passes, nightclub entry, music CD’s, DVD’s. You name it, apparently it’s there.
Now this could have been a great bit of marketing on the part of Anne (the newly instated overlord and supreme ruler of the Harbus), but I’m willing to take that chance.
So without further ado, welcome back to another term in ‘sunny’ Boston.
Just remember to change the tape in your in-built answering machines from ‘sanitised overview of HBS for the uninitiated relative’ to ‘what I got up to with my family over the Christmas break’ and you should slot right back in to HBS life.